Inside Bodie

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Stephen Fischer Photography

Each building had some unique aspect to it, and served some specific function or role in the town. According to one of the docents, at its peak there were about 35 brothels and 60 saloons. There was also a school house supporting up to a few hundred children.  Currently Bodie has a little over 100 intact buildings. At its peak there were over 500 buildings before the large fire wiped out many of them, as caused by a small boy playing with matches. Also back in the older days, when someone or family would move, it was not uncommon for them to also disassemble and pack up their house and take it with them. 


One of the first buildings I visited was the Wheaton & Hollis Hotel. This is probably more familar to many visitors with its billard table and old typewriter visible through the windows.  The Kirkwood house, which appeared to be a private residence was unique with a rounded wall in one of the bedrooms. This particular building was also challenging due to the amount of feces from small animals that seek refuge in these buildings during harsh winter (and summer) climates.  At this point I started thinking more seriously about the risk of the hanta virus.  It is not uncommon for temperatures to drop below zero degrees Fahrenheit in Bodie, so the wildlife that exists in this area find shelter amongst these buildings. 


Continuing on, the Mendocini house was interesting for an old sewing machine and kitchen area. It used to be a brothel, before being converted to a personal residence when the former madaam married one of the local butchers, and then ultimately becoming the post office for the town.  Each building and room was a new surprise of what you would find. As an example in one room I found a dead house finch lying upside down on an old kitchen table, with a picture of George Washington on the wall behind it.   One of the saloons had a preserved bar setup with many old bottles, with an upright piano, roulette table, and a slot machine. 


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All content and images are property of Stephen Fischer Photography, copyright 2011-2013.   Last updated: 10/16/2013